Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Tropical Storm Julia (2016)

Storm Active: September 13-18

On September 8, a tropical wave located east of the Lesser Antilles began to exhibit some signs of organization. However, atmospheric conditions were rather hostile, so the system moved west-northwest and then northwest for several days without significant change. On September 11 and 12, the disturbance brought some storms to the Bahamas as it passed through. Surface pressures remained high, so not development occurred during that time. That night, the circulation center of the low moved over the Florida peninsula. Despite this, the warm waters just to the east fueled a huge increase in convection just offshore and caused the system to strengthen. Late on September 13, the low was upgraded to Tropical Storm Julia even while the center was just inland over northeastern Florida. Julia was the first Atlantic storm to form over land since 1988.

After moving northward overnight and crossing inland into Georgia, the center reformed farther east on the 14th and moved over water. Though land interaction lessened, wind shear increased out of the west. This made it difficult for Julia to develop thunderstorm activity over the center and the system weakened to a tropical depression by the morning of September 15. Now moving slowly eastward, Julia put some distance between itself and the coast, ending significant rainfall over the Carolinas and Georgia and averting a potential flooding event. That night, new convective bursts including gale force winds indicated that the system was once again a tropical storm.

Over the next day, the forward motion of Julia slowed to a standstill and it lost organization as hostile conditions continued. As a result, it was again downgraded to a depression by the morning of September 17. The cyclone maintained no persistent convective features that day, but intermittent bursts were enough to maintain the cyclone as tropical. In the meantime, the center of circulation adopted a slow northwestward drift. Soon, however, dry air finally overwhelmed the system, and it was downgraded to a remnant low the evening of September 18. The low continued northwestward slowly until it merged with a front near the coast of North Carolina.

The above image shows Tropical Storm Julia shortly after formation over Florida. Most convection associated with the system remained offshore to the east.

Julia meandered near the U.S. southeast for several days before wind shear and dry air destroyed the system.

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